I have always been wanting to visit Davao as I have heard a lot of good things about the city. However, due to some unfortunate circumstances at work, it gets cancelled all the time.
But a few months ago, I was able to book tickets on sale (for only Php1,045 round trip FOR TWO) which gave me hope that I could, this time, visit Davao. Thankfully, my work schedule allowed me to visit the city for the weekend and take one day off work!
Davao, I think is the only major city in Mindanao that I have not visited yet so I might as well maximize my trip. I searched for possible tourist spots online and discovered that Samal is just a 15-minute boat ride away from the city. So I immediately booked a room in Samal.
Going to Davao is easy as there are direct flights coming from all major cities in Vis-Min. We took the route from Iloilo since there are daily schedules and we need to make sure that we fly out on a weekend and be back on a Tuesday.
Saturday: The Arrival
We arrived in Davao at around 11:00am and took a metered cab going to Abreeza for lunch. While in transit, I was amazed how organized and clean the city is! Cars are only allowed to drive between 40-60 kph and the drivers are quite cooperative! 🙂
After lunch, we took a cab to Sta. Ana Wharf as we will be spending a night in Samal. We went there at exactly 2:00pm since we were advised to be on site due to the limited schedule of boat trips.
THE PUBLIC COMMUTER TIP 1 – Going to Samal, make sure that you take the arranged boat ride. Otherwise, you’ll definitely spend a lot for money for a single trip! A private trip to your preferred resort costs between Php2,000 to Php5,000. So you better make it on time!
The boat ride going to Samal is kind of rough and is usually like that. But I think is not as scary as compared to my past boat rides.
We booked a room for a night a Hof Gorei, which is located just right beside Pearl Farm. The hotel I believe is one of the cheapest and somehow “exclusive”, which I really like. I don’t enjoy resorts that are too crowded, because you always fight for your own private space.
Hof Gorei is definitely designed for vacationers who wanted some private space. The cottages are not beside each other, and going from one room to another requires a lot of hiking. For some, it was kind of tiring, but I think that’s the whole point of it. The resort is full of trees and it makes you feel like you’re in a forest. We have a personal butler who was kind enough to provide us with the things that we need.
Accommodation is a major plus! The room is priced per night at P2,300 (we got it online) plus breakfast and boat transfer from Davao and back. So I think it’s reasonable since most of the resorts in Samal are a bit pricey!
Everything was okay except for the price of their meals. I think they are a bit overpriced. Our meal (2 dishes with rice and soda) amounted to Php1,000. Like I think it should be okay if it’s a buffet but it’s not. The food is quite decent (should be).
THE PUBLIC COMMUTER TIP 2 – I highly recommend Hof Gorei, but if you can bring food to save on cost, do it! I saw some posts online that there are restaurants nearby so I think you can also check that out.
THE BEACH! I think the beach was okay. The sand is finer (though Boracay is way better). But I think the island needs a little bit of clean up. Went out for a swim and saw some rubbish which made me decide to spend time in the pool instead.
Sunday: Davao City
We went back to Davao the next day and explored the city. We stayed at Red Planet Hotel (formerly Tune Hotels). It’s a no-frills hotel but pretty decent. I will definitely stay there when I go back.
As much as we wanted to check out more places, it was raining the entire time so we slashed some of the places in our list. But let me share with you some of the places we went to:
SHOPPING: Go to Aldevinco Shopping Center for some souvenir shopping. Prices are very cheap (which is unusual for souvenir shops). Got lots of native wallets plus the mini durian key chains are super fancy!
FOOD: We never got to visit Roxas Boulevard but we tried Bulcachong. It’s a stew with Carabao meat and it tastes HEAVENLY! I love it so much (and the meat is so tender) that I ordered 3 cups of rice. This is a place that you should not miss! I was a little bit sad with Lachi’s Sans Rival though. It did not really meet my expectation of a nice dessert.
Overall, my experience in Davao and Samal were great. Davao is modern and clean city (which is quite rare for growing cities) and the people are very polite which I guess I brought by how the government runs the city. The distance of Samal from Davao makes is as a good escape to relax and enjoy the sun.
I will definitely go back to Davao if given the chance!
Check out The Public Commuter’s overall expenses for the Davao and Samal trips: